Food Stamps

Illinois Food Stamp Program


The federal program SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) handles the food stamp program for Illinois. The program is designed to assist low income individuals and families with cash assistance for food. The SNAP program is under the Human Capital Development Services in Illinois. You can find out more information from the SNAP website for Illinois. The program has specific regulations like many food service programs, which is determined by certain factors, mainly your income and household size. If you are a household with a low income, you most likely will be eligible to receive SNAP benefits. The rules are different for each situation and therefore, your eligibility interview, which is a part of the application process, will determine if you are approved to receive financial aid. The amount for your food stamps will also vary depending on your income and household size as bigger households will need more than a single individual or a family who also has a disabled or elderly dependent. The food assistance program allows several individuals living together to also apply for food stamps separately. To apply for food stamp benefits, you can use the online platform or download and print a form using the Apply for Cash, SNAP and Medical Assistance website.

Applying for Food Stamps

You can apply online for food stamps through the portal on Illinois' government food stamp website. With the online platform, you can fill out the application whenever is convenient and private for you. Once submitted, your application is electronically sent to the Department of Human Services office, where it is processed. You may also want to download and print a form. The printable food stamp form (PDF) is located here. You do need to know some basic information about yourself to complete the application, such as your name and social security number, but you also need income and asset information. The form will ask you a series of questions that also determine your eligibility. A follow-up interview will follow the application once it is processed. The representative will ask you more questions to determine your aid amount and give the final recommendation for your eligibility for food stamps.

Receiving Food Stamps

You can use the SNAP eligibility calculator to see if you qualify. Eligibility is determined by a few factors for families and individuals living in Illinois. You will need proof of identity, proof of residence, proof of social security numbers, and other documents that help determine your circumstances, such as assets, income and household size. In general, your eligibility is based on your income. For under 60 non-disabled households, the highest amount you can make per month for a household of 10 is $4,822. For a household of four, the income cap is $2,389. With households that are age 60 or over or that have disabled individuals living in the home, the income cap is higher. You can see a chart for the household size and income caps located here. There are some specific guidelines on who can't receive SNAP individuals that are decided on a federal level. Some people can't get SNAP benefits despite the amount of their income. For example, non-citizens, workers on strike, and people who live in certain institutions are ineligible to receive any SNAP benefits. If approved for benefits, your amount will be electronically delivered through an Illinois Link Card, which you receive in the mail after your application is approved. The maximum benefits that you receive depend on your unit size. For example, with a unit size of four, you can receive $668 per month for food assistance.

Finding Food Service Locations

SNAP is the federal name for the food assistance programs. Every state has multiple SNAP locations. In fact, every county should have multiple locations where you can use your card. You can find specific locations near you using the SNAP retailer locator on the federal website. You can also call the DHS Help Line at 1-800-843-6154. You can also ask about different SNAP retailers near you. There is also a DHS office locator for Illinois located on the Illinois SNAP website.



What income do you need to have in order to be eligible for food stamps in Illinois?

Below is a list of the monthly household income limits in order to qualify for food stamps as it relates to the number of household members. 
1 $1,276
2 $1,726
3 $2,177
4 $2,628
5 $3,078
6 $3,529
7 $3,980
8 $4,430
9 $4,881
10 $5,332

How are food stamps given in Illinois?

In Illinois, benefits are provided through the Illinois Link Card which is accepted at most grocery stores. 

What are some of the things I can NOT buy with my Illinois Link Card?

Hot foods that are ready to eat
Food intended to be heated in the store
Lunch counter items or foods to be eaten in the store
Vitamins or medicines
Pet food
Any non-food items (except seeds and plants)
Alcohol and tobacco

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